Firewall’ Reveals Seven’s Compelling Quest For Identity –


Star Trek: Picard: Firewall
Written by David Mack
Published by Pocket Books

“No plan ever survives contact with the enemy – and, as far as I can tell, you have no Plan B. What are you gonna do out there when everything starts to go wrong?”

“If executed correctly, my plan –”

“Forget about correctly. Forget about your plan. Listen to what I’m telling you: People are fallible. Combat is chaotic. We have strict rules of engagement, a duty to use nonlethal force – but our enemies don’t. One mistake up there could get us and the rest of the team killed. Did you account for that?”

He wasn’t sure how he expected Seven to react. He didn’t think she would shrink like a violet, or wither in the face of criticism, but he certainly didn’t expect what she did next. She lifted her chin and actually seemed to get taller. “I am aware of the dangers posed by the mission. I’ve weighed the certain costs of failure against the potential gains of success. Imperiling eight lives to save eight hundred thousand is an acceptable risk-reward ratio.”

“Gotta give you credit, kid. You’ve got a way with math.”

At the end of the Berman Era of Trek, Jeri Ryan’s Seven was last seen returning to Earth aboard the Starship Voyager, involved in a romantic relationship with Chakotay, and anticipating the possibility of joining Starfleet, alongside her mentor and mother-figure, Captain Kathryn Janeway. At the character’s next appearance, 20 years later in the first season of Star Trek: Picard, she is detached from Janeway and Chakotay, works for the mysterious Fenris Rangers, and is soon to develop a relationship with Raffaela “Raffi” Musiker. David Mack’s novel Star Trek: Picard: Firewall, is designed to fill part of that two-decade gap in Seven’s story with an adventure set at a key turning point for everyone’s favorite ex-Borg.

Mack’s novel brings Seven out from under Janeway’s shadow and chronicles her struggle to figure out her own identity and chart her own path in a galaxy growing darker by the minute. Feeling left behind as her former Voyager shipmates have all gone on to their new lives, Seven is a drifter, moving from planet to planet, job to job, longing for connection but afraid of being hurt. With the Resettlement Crisis on Romulus pulling Starfleet’s resources out of the Federation’s outer sectors, Seven experiences the growing lawlessness, poverty, and despair of colonies once dependent on Federation aid. Their hopelessness mirrors her own, as she too has been rejected by a Starfleet terrified of her Borg past. When she’s approached by a shadowy Federation Security agent and recruited to infiltrate the vigilante terrorist organization, the Fenris Rangers, Seven sees the opportunity to finally be accepted by Starfleet. But as she gets deeper into the Rangers, she finds that they are not what they have been painted to be – and perhaps neither is the Federation.

This book is a slam-bang action novel, exploring some of the fringes of the Star Trek Universe. While embracing Starfleet’s utopian 24th Century setting, it also acknowledges that even in a utopia, the galaxy is an enormous place, and even good decisions, made for the right reasons, can have negative downstream consequences. I especially appreciated the detailed look at the Fenris Rangers, their mission, their ethos, and their organization, all of which Mack fleshes out admirably.

While we meet a number of characters from Star Trek: Picard’s three seasons, as well as from Star Trek: Prodigy, Mack keeps his Easter Eggs subtle and sparse. The focus here is on Seven and her struggle to both understand who she is and to be accepted for who she is. While the Seven of Nine character on Voyager, and eventually on Picard, has long been an icon for gay and transgender people, her bisexual identity and connection to trans identification have never been as clear as they are here. Mack describes it as an exploration of Seven as “a newly out queer woman,” and Seven’s exploration of her newfound identity is at turns touching, sad, and hopeful.

Mack doesn’t skimp on the action, which is gritty, bloody, and visceral. Firewall brings elements that feel like Blade Runner, Star Wars, and High Noon into its Star Trek setting. And Mack utilizes his “f-bomb” allotment in an emotionally climactic way. The plot and characters never lose sight of the hopefulness of Gene Roddenberry’s universe, but fans who like their Trek more sanitary may find the content of this novel pushing their boundaries. But in the end, Seven, the Rangers, and Starfleet all have the opportunity to shine as heroes, good prevails, and evil is defeated over tremendous odds, and through cleverness, technology, friendship, and endurance.

Action, inclusivity, and deep character growth. David Mack’s Firewall digs deeply into Seven, and gives her clear motivations as she transitions from one Trek series to the next.

Available now

David Mack’s Star Trek: Picard: Firewall from Pocket Books was released on February 27. You can pick it up now at Amazon in hardcover and  Kindle e-book.

Firewall is also available as an audiobook on CD now and also Audible. You can listen to a sample of the audiobook, read by January LaVoy below…

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